A former Chicago transit worker who claims he was "unjustly" terminated last month saw support Wednesday morning from some Chicago Teachers Union members and community groups, who want the fired bus driver rehired.
The group, including representatives from the Black Youth Project 100, spoke out before the Chicago Transit Board meeting.
Erek Slater, who previously worked as a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus driver and claims to be a "union steward" and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 241 executive board member, said he was "unjustly" fired last month.
According to the group, Slater was fired after initiating, as a union steward, "an inquiry into a possible violation of the contract" by the CTA "on the request of his coworker."
Illinois public transportation advocates are calling attention to the potentially "devastating" effects Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's 2016 budget proposal could have on train and bus services across the state.
Spearheaded by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, the coalition of advocates has launched a new campaign called "Grow Illinois Transit" to raise awareness about Rauner's proposed budget cuts to Amtrak, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, Pace and downstate bus services. Other organizations involved with the coalition include the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, the Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois PIRG and the Sierra Club's Illinois chapter.
Speaking at a Chicago press conference Monday afternoon, transit advocates said Rauner's fiscal plan could result in significant fare hikes as well as bus and train services being reduced or eliminated altogether.
A deal has been reached between the Chicago Transit Authority and the union representing the transit agency's workers to reinstate a program that helps ex-offenders get jobs with the transportation service.
We are deeply disturbed about recent reports
that suggest that the Chicago Transit Authority will end its ex-offender
rail car employment program.
African Americans are
disproportionately represented in Illinois’ prison population. More
often than not, these ex-offenders return to their home communities
after serving their sentences in prison. They return to communities
that have higher than average rates of unemployment and underemployment
caused by a chronic shortage of living wage jobs. Moreover, even
non-violent ex-offenders face statutory bars to employment and
government benefits that serve as perverse incentives for criminal behavior.